Have you felt like you’ve been on a rollercoaster ride, emotionally, lately?
My kids are now home due to COVID. So, aside from that, and all the other things come with life, work, and business, I’m tired. And, I know I’m not alone.
One thing that I’ve found that has helped me not to lose my marbles lately is taking at least 45 minutes every morning for myself. Every weekday, I do a workout. Periodically, I give myself Reiki. One day this week, I also journaled. The point is, taking time for my body, my heart, and my mindset has dramatically kept me from lashing out in frustration.
How often, though, do we go about our day without making our body, heart, and mindset a priority? How often do we lax on our self-awareness and go about our day mindlessly? A lot.
I recall many times throughout my life, where the littlest things would set me off. This response is not uncommon to us when we feel as if we’re on an emotional rollercoaster. So, how do you suppose this quick-to-anger, being easily poked by the bear – way of being is impacting your life, work, and business if you have one?
Back when I had my first business, I was struggling in a lot of ways emotionally. I was having physical symptoms, including unexplained body aches, headaches, and hair loss. Also, I had or have never been diagnosed with anxiety. However, since having a better understanding of our energy, I look back in hindsight and recognize that the physical angst I would often feel was anxiety. Even today, when my thoughts start to tailspin around overwhelm (which I’ve come to learn is due to lack of prioritizing) and the future, I begin to have episodes of heart arrhythmia and feel like I could jump out of my skin. Again, I don’t know if this is what anxiety feels like to those diagnosed, but this is when I know I am out of energetic balance.
I’ve come to understand that grief and energy go hand-in-hand. I do feel that is why Reiki found me after going through the grief recovery program and starting to unravel the years of emotional dis-ease I had carried.
When I look back on the years when I first joined the workforce at 14 and onward, I recognize (with new awareness) what emotional dis-ease (i.e., grief) has cost me. There were many jobs I never applied at because I didn’t feel like I had a snowball’s chance in you know what of getting the job. I also got so scared about the future, finances, and all the things when it came to college. I spent a weekend in a dorm when I turned 18 to pack the car and leave before ever giving myself a chance. I gave up on myself before I even tried. And, all because of fear and money.
I did not trust myself. I did not understand intuition and how to tap into it. I always looked to the external for affirmation that I was doing the right thing or looking for permission or just someone to tell me what to do. It was this confusion, and yet, also a knowing that I could do hard things that led me to join the military. If money was the problem in attending college, well then, I found my solution. What I didn’t realize was that I still had to pay that money upfront (which, I believe, is still the case).
I’ve learned to become resourceful through struggle, but I’ve also learned how to be resilient. That said, it’s taken me decades to dig in and tap into how to utilize my resourcefulness and resiliency. You see, when we’re emotionally suffering, it’s often difficult to see potential and possibility – in ourselves. Our minds become a fog of illusion that we’re okay and fine. However, if we take a birds-eye view of our life, we often see that we have blocks that keep us repeating the same self-sabotaging behaviors. Or, we become hyper-focused on performance, results, and outcomes – all the while neglecting ourselves and those we love (hello, burnout)!
Below is a rundown list of all the ways, I believe, emotional dis-ease creates blocks and hinders our progress in life and business. These are ways I self-identify with, and I am sure there are many more I haven’t thought of that I could add. If this list resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you! I’m curious if there are others I haven’t included that you found to be true for you?
The Ways Emotional Dis-Ease Impacts Life & Business
questioning/second-guessing every decision or difficulty making decisions
seeking outside validation/affirmation
unable to see other perspectives
lack of discernment
money drama – money comes, money goes // lack of growth in account or savings
quick to anger
difficulty connecting with others
feeling like others are out to get you // victim mindset
lack of self-awareness or not conscious of your physical body // desire to “numb-out.”
The more of these that resonate with you, the more likely you’ve got some emotional weeds in your heart garden that need some tending and pulling. With each weed we pull, we’re clearing out space for more beauty to enter and unfold in our lives.
There is hope on the other side of all of this. I’ve been having some wonderful conversations with some incredible healing hearts for my podcast, Grieving Voices. And, these guests have proven this to me over and over. There’s no such thing as joy or sorrow – the two co-exist within a matter of moments of each other. However, when the scales tip further one way than the other in a way that doesn’t sit right with you, then you have a choice to do something about it.
There is no timeline for healing emotional dis-ease. However, how much time are you willing to give sorrow? How much of your life are you ready to gamble? We all reach a point where we get sick of our own crap. My friend, that’s when the magic happens. That fire in your belly for wanting more for yourself and your loved ones – it’s the stuff that dreams are made of, and we often give up on our dreams before we give ourselves a chance. We often don’t think there’s hope.
Take your life by the horns, my friend. It’s waiting for you. Will there always be painful and challenging things that put a boulder in your way? Of course. Life isn’t a fairy tale or movie. But, why write the final chapter before you’ve lived all the chapters in-between? Resiliency is learned through experience and growth, a by-product of suffering. I don’t care which way you slice it. It’s just some people are more willing to allow the unfolding than others. Fear and resistance keep the rest stuck in the past.
The future will not be found in the past. It took me 30+ years to discover this. That said, our pain often becomes our message. And, maybe that’s just a part of my walk here on earth. I don’t know. As a podcast guest stated recently, “I feel more awake now than ever.” And you know what, this woman lost her 17-month-old son suddenly. A loss I cannot even fathom. So, please don’t take it from me; tune in to the podcast and hear the stories of hope for yourself—just incredible stories I am honored to share with listeners. I feel so inspired by their faith and trust in what is possible for them. And, for a time (like myself), they didn’t see it for themselves, either.
There are gifts of grief (i.e., emotional dis-ease/suffering). Get empowered by what is possible, regain emotional control of your life (and body), and watch that list above fade into the rearview.
P.S. Need a lifeline of hope? Reach out to me. Here to serve and create more healing ripples in the world.
Carrying grief is exhausting. It ripples into every corner of your life, dimming our light and brightness along the way.
Grief is a burden we all shoulder, and despite the passage of time and positive thinking, we are unable to bury it or wish it away.
And many of us do not even realize this load on our shoulders; causing us to snap at our loved ones and reach for food, alcohol, and other crutches to numb and pacify ourselves for a short time.
Grief is not spoken about and because of this, we don’t even realize how it is preventing us from living the life we desire to lead.
Have a listen to my guest appearance on Michelle’s Podcast in preparation for this workshop. This is a great conversation where ample examples are given of the different ways grief presents itself.
My beautiful friend, Michelle Marsh (Aromonosis Coach + Facilitator, Podcaster, Writer, and Natural Living Advocate) is bringing me into her community to hold a Grief Healing Aromanosis Experience. With her expertise in the area of hypnosis, aromatherapy, and holistic wellness, and mine in all things grief + reiki, we are bringing our hearts together to facilitate this very special healing workshop.
Is this workshop for you? If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you may already identify yourself as a griever. If not, I encourage you to check out my podcast, Grieving Voices, where I offer bite-sized, weekly grief education.
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or any change from what is familiar in life. It is the emotional response to change. It can be defined as a feeling associated with the things we wish might have been different, better, or more in any relationship. Whether it is with a person, a pet, a job, an educational experience, or even a place of residence doesn’t matter. Grief can be a result of unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations in any relationship as well.
The Ways Grief Manifests
Some people find that the confusing feelings that grief generates interfere with sleep, while others find it challenging to get up and function after waking up.
Some people find that they feel sad or cry over things that never seemed to bother them before.
Many find themselves longing for that relationship lost, and others find, especially when they discover that friends seem to be able to offer little meaningful help, that they lose some of their ability to trust others.
Some find themselves easily irritated, while others do not have the energy to feel much of anything.
For some, the memories leading up to and including the moment of loss overshadow all of their fond memories of that relationship.
Simply stated, grief can be overwhelming! Just as overwhelming can be the labels that are put on grievers and the advice that they are given.
To gain FREE access to the LIVE workshop, enter your details below and I will send you the Zoom link on Monday, September 14th. The workshop will be at 7:00 AM CST on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020. My friend, Michelle, is located in Australia, where it will be evening. No worries – by signing up, you’ll receive the recording! However, if you can make it LIVE, it is highly recommended. 😉
GRIEF HEALING EXPERIENCE
Please join me, Victoria, and Michelle Marsh of MichelleMarsh.com.au, as we take you through a grief healing experience. You get the best of both worlds; an Adv. Certified Grief Specialist + Reiki Master, along with Michelle, an Aromonosis Coach + Facilitator + Holistic Wellness Advocate as your guides.
You may also want to receive, The Unleashed Letters, a weekly e-publication where Victoria shares content not shared anywhere else + her deepest, darkest secrets. Okay, not quite, but you do get to see "behind the curtain" of her heart, to speak.
Awesome, friend! You're in! On Monday, Sept. 14th, you will receive the Zoom link to join us LIVE on Tuesday, Sept. 15th at 7 AM CST!
Your privacy is taken seriously, because, I hate spam, too.
You can learn more about Michelle and her Aromanosis Membership HERE. For questions about the Aromanosis Membership, email Michelle directly.
Sunday, August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day.
I thought I would share, in today’s post, the different types of grieving events.
In 1967, Dr. Thomas Holmes and Dr. Richard Rahe, both psychiatrists, researched the medical records of 5000 patients to look at the correlation between their levels of emotional stress and their illnesses. They created the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, also known as the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale, which was used as a scoring mechanism to rate the various stress indicators as part of their study. This list, commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, is considered a definitive ranking system.
Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior; the normal and natural reaction to any change that occurs in life.
While it may be helpful in the therapeutic setting to use a numerical ranking scale in looking at stressors related to their impact on medical conditions, this serves no purpose when used in the context of those events that can result in grief. It’s also important to remember that each individual grieves at 100% for their particular loss. There is no need or value to rate one grief-generating event as having more impactful than another since the grief that each person feels is based on his or her own unique situation.
We have all been in situations where we have heard someone say, “you may think your situation is bad, but mine is even worse!” Comparing losses does nothing to help with recovery. To suggest to Griever A that his or her loss is less significant than that of Grievers B only creates more emotional pain for Griever A, in that they may feel the need to further internalize their feelings since they have been told they are of lesser value. Our focus, in grief recovery, has always been that grievers are far better served in taking recovery actions, rather than in arguing over who is hurting the most!
Below you will find the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale for Adults. Some events, such as marriage, may bring to mind more memories of joy than pain. In this case, we need to remember that there is grief associated with changes from normal behavior patterns, of which there can be many in moving from “single” to “married.”
Death of a spouse
Death of a close family member
Personal injury or illness
Dismissal from work
Change in health of family member
Gain a new family member
Change in financial state
Death of a close friend
Change to a different line of work
Change in frequency of arguments
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
Change in responsibilities at work
Child leaving home
Trouble with in-laws
Outstanding personal achievement
Spouse starts or stops work
Begin or end school
Change in living conditions
Revision of personal habits
Trouble with boss
Change in working hours or conditions
Change in residence
Change in schools
Change in recreation
Change in church activities
Change in social activities
Minor mortgage or loan
Change in sleeping habits
Change in number of family reunions
Change in eating habits
Minor violation of law
Loss of Trust, Loss of Approval, Loss of Safety and Loss of Control of my body
The greatest value to this listing is in helping people understand that grief is not just about death. Stress and stressful events come in many packages, which is true for grief as well.
A slightly modified version of this Stress Scale was created for those over 55, to reflect those life events that come with aging. In many ways, this scale is similar to the one for adults, but it likewise fails to mention the same stressors and grief causing events that are noted above.
Yet another version of this scale was developed for, so-called, “Non-Adults.” Just as is the case with the “Adult Scale,” there are many additions that could be made to this list for grieving experiences for children, based on their unique relationships and level of development. This list also fails to include elements of child abuse on any level, sexual matters, bullying, and cyberbullying or such things as loss of Safety, Approval, Faith or personal control.
Death of parent
Divorce of parents
Acquiring a visible deformity
Fathering a child
Jail sentence of a parent for over one year
Marital separation of parents
Death of a brother or sister
Change in acceptance by peers
Unplanned pregnancy of sister
Discovery of being an adopted child
Marriage of parent to step-parent
Death of a close friend
Having a visible congenital deformity
Serious illness requiring hospitalization
Failure of a grade in school
Not making an extracurricular activity
Hospitalization of a parent
Jail sentence of a parent for over 30 days
Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriend
Beginning to date
Suspension from school
Becoming involved with drugs or alcohol
Birth of a brother or sister
Increase in arguments between parents
Loss of job by parent
Outstanding personal achievement
Change in parent’s financial status
Accepted at college of choice
Being a senior in high school
Hospitalization of a sibling
Increased absence of a parent from home
Brother or sister leaving home
Addition of third adult to family
Becoming a full-fledged member of a church
A decrease in arguments between parents
A decrease in arguments with parents
Mother or father beginning work
A very important point to remember is that it is one thing to realize that these are events that can bring stress and grief into your life, and quite another thing to take action. Most people carry around a great deal of grief that they hold inside. Unlike a broken arm or leg that is made obvious by a cast, a broken heart is far less easy to see. As with a broken limb, we take action to heal the wound…action is also needed to heal a broken heart; time alone doesn’t heal a wound, action within time is required.
The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale was first utilized in looking at the strong correlation between the stressors that impact people’s lives and their actual medical issues. People under stress are more prone to a variety of medical complications. Reducing your stress/grief can have a positive impact on your physical well being.
Our focus, at the Grief Recovery Institute, is in moving beyond the emotional pain of loss. The Grief Recovery Method is a proven, step-by-step process for accomplishing this. It’s designed to help people deal not only with past and current issues regarding the stress of grief, but also to provide the tools to deal with future issues, as they develop.
As previously stated, the value of these lists is in reminding everyone that there are many life events that potentially cause grief. Society most often thinks of grief as death-related. However, as I hope you can see now, it’s a far broader topic than just being about death. And, if you really think about it, grief is everywhere. Most people you encounter in your daily life have lost someone or something; they grieve something or someone. Whether there is a relationship they wish would be/could’ve been different, better, or more, or grieve the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations for the relationship – these things cause dis-ease in our hearts. It’s often, not until it’s one loss too many when we realize we’re not okay. And, you know what, that’s okay. The sad, angry, conflicting feelings all have value. Those feelings are your indicator that there is healing that needs to be done. And, when you’re ready…you know where to find me.
P.S. On June 30th, 2020, my podcast Grieving Voices launched! So far, I’ve shared eight educational episodes, and very soon, I will be sharing conversations with other grievers. Be a fly on the wall of our conversation, as grievers give voice to their losses, what they wish would have been there for them, how they wish others would have responded or said – all with the goal of educating all of us on how to better support grievers. And, in doing so, bring normalcy to what we experience in grief. It’s time we talk about grief like we talk about the weather!
P.P.S. Monday, August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance abuse, check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. Their National Helpline Number is: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
*Portions of this post are adapted from The Grief Recovery Institute Blog
If your days have been feeling as though they’re all running together – know that today is FRIDAY! Woohoo! I hope you can find some joy this weekend.
If you feel like every person you cross paths with is cranky, rude, or negative – know that their emotional gunk isn’t yours. But, it may help you feel better to continue to be you. Don’t dim your positivity for the sake of making the other person feel comfortable. I’ve been on the other side of this. I’m sure you have, too. You’re in a cranky mood, and someone you speak to is just full of smiles and joy and, you wonder to yourself: “How can you be so damn happy all of the time?” And, you know what? It’s more of a reflection of ourselves. We can project our joy onto others, or we can project our pain.
And, I realize that’s the difficulty. I’ve written about telling the emotional truth about ourselves many times before. Yet, here I am saying that if you’re feeling negative, not to mention the emotional truth about yourself- not to project it onto others. However, there’s a difference between telling the emotional truth and treating others poorly because we feel – emotionally deficient.
We will not always be happy – about our life situation, the state of the world, a decision that’s been made, our health, the weather – you name it. However, if we can acknowledge, within ourselves, that which isn’t working, feeling right, or aligning our soul with joy, and meet that hurt within us with compassion, then we are more equipped to share the truth – without mistreating others in the process.
As we start to work through our emotional stuff (and continue to do so), we are less affected by others’ emotional dis-ease. And, I can tell you, I am much quicker to recognize now (because I keep applying grief recovery to my life) when I am a projector of the negative. I have learned that that’s when it’s time to step out of my head and into my heart, and know where there’s emotional work to do. As a result, this makes me a happier person – in my skin and to be around.
Life is for learning. When you feel like you’ve messed up – apologize. When you feel like you’re at your breaking point – step away, take a break, and hit the reset button. Ask yourself what you can do in the situation rather than focusing on what is out of your hands (I’ve been doing my darndest to put this one into practice as of late).
We are in community with each other whether we like it or not. So, rather than fret over others whom you can’t change, fret over a situation that’s frustrating the, you know what, out of you, and being frustrated with yourself – hit reset. Sometimes, we need to be alone – not in community with others, to do just that. When we’re in each other’s spaces, we’re also in each other’s energy. You’re doing the best you can steeping in everyone’s energy. But the most important person’s energy you need to pay attention to – is your own.
I know it’s not easy these days to manage our own energy either. I had been struggling with this, too. And, you know – I gave myself Reiki. True story. I gave myself Reiki before bed a few nights recently, and despite having fewer hours of sleep, I had better quality sleep. Another thing that feels like a reset at the end of the day? A shower. Yup. Sounds silly, as the majority of the people I know typically shower in the morning. However, I prefer to shower at night. You literally wash away the stress of the day down the drain and crawl into bed, feeling refreshed (and reset).
So today, I want you to pat yourself on the back that yes, you are doing the best you can. And, I hope this helps you to reflect on your energy and the energy of those around you. How is the energy of others affecting you? How is your energy affecting those around you, too? When I feel good, I influence those around me to feel better, also.
Even if it may seem annoying to others who project their pain on others (because they’re not tapped into their energy and their impact it has) – work on a reset for YOU. This reset is the best thing you can do this Friday and throughout the weekend, before the start of a new week.
Set the intention today for a fantastic weekend, regardless of the chaos that may be ensuing around you. Turn off the phone if you need to. Get a hotel room or an Airbnb by yourself for a night, if you need to. Take a drive on the backroads, or in the country, and photograph what you find along the way. Take a lawn chair and sit by the lake (or the ocean) and steep in the stillness.
Reset for your energy (and your mindset), so you can continue to do the best you can! And, if you need help with an emotional reset for life, reach out to me. I know the program that’s perfect for doing just that. 😉
P.S. Are you looking for support for a grieving child in your care? I am looking for four participants to walk through the NEW online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We meet on Zoom only four times – once a week, for no more than 2 1/2 hours each time. And know that there’s lots of material to cover. You won’t be a silent listener (bored out of your mind) as I lecture each week for four weeks. It’s participatory and engaging content, where you interact with others in the group, and learn some new skills and tools to utilize for the rest of your life. This program is prevention, so whether you’re a parent, daycare provider, social worker, school faculty, a child therapist looking for more knowledge around grief specifically, or work in the foster care/adoption system – this program is for you – the adult. The first group will be offered at a discounted rate, which will allow me to make sure all of my systems and processes are correctly in place and that there aren’t any hiccups—interested in learning more? Please email me at [email protected] or message via the Contact tab.
I look forward to sharing this amazing program with you – for the better of the child(ren) in your life!
In today’s first episode as part of an educational series, I define grief in a way you’ve likely never heard it described before. By providing relatable examples and some of my personal story, you’ll leave this episode feeling like you have a better understanding of grief.
When we understand that grief is more than just about death, we are able to shed light on all areas of our life that feel emotionally incomplete and begin the healing process.
Be sure to tune into next week’s episode, where I’ll be sharing why and how grief keeps us stuck.
Are you wanting more content like this? Head on over to Instagram or Facebook where I share more info just like this, and say hello!
Victoria Volk 0:08 This is Victoria of theunleashedheart.com and you’re listening to Grieving Voices, a podcast for hurting hearts who desire to be heard. Or, anyone who wants to learn how to better support loved ones experiencing loss. As a 30 plus year griever, and an advanced grief recovery method specialist, I know how badly the conversation around grief needs to change. Through this podcast, I aim to educate grievers and non-grievers alike, spread hope, and inspire compassion towards those hurting. Lastly, by providing my heart with the ears and this platform, grievers have the opportunity to share their wisdom and stories of loss and resiliency. How about we talk about grief like we talked about the weather? Let’s get started.
Hello in today’s episode we are going to dive into the definition of grief. And I like to start with the dictionary’s definition, which is defined as a noun of deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death. And the example it gives is she was overcome with grief. The informal definition is trouble or annoyance; we were too tired to cause any grief. I just find it interesting that grief is defined as a noun, whereas I think anyone that’s lost anybody close to them, or has experienced trauma, or divorce, miscarriage, anything like that. To say it’s a noun I don’t know if that does it justice. I would like to say that grief is more like a feeling. And a grief recovery Institute defines grief as the normal and natural reaction to change or loss of any kind. And grief by any other name, such as stress, or burnout, even PTSD, sometimes you’ll hear the phrase complicated grief, maybe even depression is still grief. Grief is also the response to a change in or end of any familiar pattern of behavior. So, you know, consider the current times with COVID-19 with the racial and justice and unrest going on in the world. There’s a lot of grief in response to the changes. It is about mixed emotions also so you can graduate from high school and still be very sad and have grief over, leaving home, leaving your familiar environment, and patterns of behavior. And going into the unknown really, a woman can have grief when she has a child because especially I would say I’m speaking for myself, having my first child. Everything that you thought you knew about life about yourself; the things that you took for granted, really change in an instant, really. Someone who is dealing with addiction and perhaps are in treatment or are let’s say like myself, I’ve given up alcohol it’s been six months now. And I don’t have excuse me, although I don’t have grief around the alcohol itself. You know, you can see there’s dynamics kind of change in a relationship sometimes. And that’s kind of a side topic but, when it comes to addiction, and I’m not saying like, I was a full-blown alcoholic. Personally, I, I really just lacked some self-control at times, and it just really wanted to be a better role model for my kids. But someone who is going through treatment and addiction is all that they’ve known for several months, probably several years. That’s a life that they are having to say goodbye to. And often that comes with having to say goodbye to relationships that were unhealthy and, and hurtful, really. So we can experience grief more often in our lives than we think. Then just when someone we love passes away or dies. Grief is also the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there for you. Only to find that when you need them one more time, they’re not there. Or reaching out for someone who’s never been there for you only to find that when you need them one more time. They’re still not there. So this happens often too with family. You know, you can have a relationship with a parent, and you can feel like they’ve never been there for you. Maybe they have been haven’t been emotionally available. Maybe they were physically there. But like I said, emotionally, they were indifferent and not attentive to your needs, emotional needs, maybe even your physical needs, hugs kisses, things like that affection. These things that we long for growing up as children. You know, that’s how we understand connection. That’s how we understand how to build relationships and to let people in, right? So when we are neglected of that opportunity that grief is kind of stays with us. It does stay with us. And it’s kind of foolish to think that learning how to deal with grief in that way, as in like, you’re not like those feelings aren’t valid or aren’t needed to thrive, in relationships or in life. That greatly impacts you intuitive adulthood likewise, as an adult, you know, your family if you feel like, you know, that they’ve always been there for you, and then all of a sudden they’re not whether it is death that separates you or they move away. Um, you know that those are grief causing instances as well. So I think we tend to have this narrow scope, idea of grief. And I think that’s where a lot of people misunderstand that. Grief is more than just about death. Being a victim of sexual trauma. There is a lot of grief that can happen because of that because you can then experience it’s not just what was taken from you, but it is loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of security. It’s almost like putting fire or putting gasoline on the fire. You know, it’s like taking the screwdriver and just twisting it just a little bit more. It’s these intangible losses that we experience as a result of it a devastating life-altering experience, right.
So, I just really want you to consider and think about all the ways that you’ve been grieving and, and the things that you’ve been grieving that you never really thought that you are grieving until hearing this right now. So, as a kid, did you move a lot? Were you a military brat, like they say? Were you just really never were given the opportunity to create connections with others or you’ve maybe felt: “Why bother, we’ll be moving anyway in a year” if it was just this natural occurrence or you just like expected it. So you never did put the effort in, because you just didn’t want to feel that loss. Again. And that’s not just the children in the family unit that can be the parents as well. How often do military families move about from base to base and maybe even country to country and never can really settle. And maybe have a hard time doing so because, you know, it’s just you’re gonna have to say goodbye anyway, so why bother, right? Hopefully, that’s not the case. But likely it is. and likely you’ve experienced grief because of it – you and your children. So, or how about as a kid, you had, you know, your first dog. And because you’re moving, you had to give it away. So it’s not even just moving. This would be especially hard maybe for a child. But it’s not just the idea of moving it is, well, we’re moving and I have to give away my beloved dog. So it’s the loss of the relationship that that child has to the dog. It’s the loss of relationship that they have to what they knew is their home. And if it’s, you know, a different town and it’s saying goodbye to their friends, there can be many losses wrapped up into one larger experience. I just think that there are so many examples out there. We know graduating from high school, leaving your friends, getting married, can be a grief experience in a way too because depending on when you get married. Let’s say you don’t get married ’til, you know, later in life, late 30s 40s. You’ve had a long time to get settled in, set in your ways, and get used to how life is right? Come and go as you want> Do what you want when you want. You don’t have to really answer to anybody. There’s a lot of freedom in that lifestyle. And hopefully, you’re, you’re welcoming someone else into it and you want someone else into it, and that’s why you’re getting married. But that doesn’t discount the fact though, that it is a major change. And you may experience grief along with that. Maybe to your spouse to be doesn’t, is allergic to cats, and you have to get rid of your cat that you’ve had for 5,6,7 years. Who knows, right? Um, I could give so many examples. Let’s see.
There are mean, I mean, I could really think of some terrible examples, but that would be just depressing. Let’s see. So how about like, I just really am trying to get you to really truly think about all of the losses that you may have experienced that you really didn’t think about until now. You know, and I think too, like just in the context of relationships. You know, I’ve had friendships that have fallen away a few by my choice sometimes, because, you know, sometimes we get into different phases of our lives than those who are in our lives. And it can be hard to relate. It can be hard to find comments. analogies are common things to talk about. Not always but you know if it can happen and, and people can choose to, to just decide that you know what I need to move on from this friendship or relationship. And there is nothing wrong with that. But there’s always going to be one person who feels maybe slighted or grief or sad or maybe angry. Because grief happens in the context of relationships and, you know, aside from those intangible losses, but because it happens first in the context of relationships, just think about all the different relationships that you’ve been in. And people have come and gone out of your life. And maybe, like I said, maybe it was a situation that you chose to back away from. You know, and something might remind you of them and take you back in time and you feel like Gosh, I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would have done that differently. Because grief two is anything that we wish would be different, better, or more. And, and that’s in the context of relationships. And it can be with someone who is living and someone who has died, I can still wish that my relationship with some loved ones would have been different, better or more. And it’s a loss to have hopes, dreams, and expectations. So especially with like miscarriage. When you lose a child It doesn’t matter if it’s nothing carriage or you just lose a young child or your child at any age really, because you always have these hopes and dreams and expectations. As a parent these as you know, you, you expect that they’re gonna outlive you, first of all, you never expect that you’re going to bury a child you never hope to. And I just, I could not imagine so my heart goes out to you if you’re listening to this. And that has been the case for you, but I, it is, that is, that is grief. And I’m sorry, but grief is not a noun. Grief is not a noun, it is a feeling and you know, the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations that you would have for your child upon them passing away. That’s really hard to get over. It’s really, really difficult. And likewise, if you’re in a relationship with someone living and they are in your life, you know, sometimes you can’t choose your family, right? And you wish that the relationship would be different, better or more. That’s grief as well. So I’ve kind of talked a lot about like different things that cause grief. And, you know, I really highlighted the fact that it starts in our childhood often with, you know, a loss of a pet or moving. You know, in my instance, my grandmother passed away when I was seven. dad passed away when I was eight, no losses really close together. And you know, my grandmother lived with us while she was sick as well. So, I saw that You know, I grew up you know, I grew up seeing sorrow, and it just was not dealt with, like an emotion would be, or should be, you know, handled with care. And really I think that’s really my message for today is grief is a feeling to be handled with tender, loving care. And I think if we can look at each other and society and see and understand that we’ve all lost something or someone we all grieve something or someone Look at someone as they’re passing by in the street or, you know, the cashier woman at the checkout line or, you know, maybe the delivery guy that’s kind of being a jerk, you know, we’ve all lost something or someone and to be able to look at someone with empathetic eyes and know, I’ve lost and I agree if something or someone to because grief unites us all, every single one of us, it doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t care, your ethnic background doesn’t care of your economic status. And if we can look at each other, like children with backpacks, full of rocks, is grief rocks these grief experiences that we’ve been putting into our backpacks all of our lives. If we could actually physically see those backpacks think we would look at each other a little differently. We’d probably treat each other a little differently to right. Some other grief experiences which I didn’t even cover earlier but like loss of health, I can be a big one. I mean really, it’s like if you’ve been healthy for most of your life and then all of a sudden you have this devastating diagnosis, whether it be terminal or just chronic. Or, you know, you lose in the, you know, a leg or an arm or you know, something where it, it’s a changing or changing your pattern of behavior, right? It’s going to change your entire life. You’re going to have a grief experience with that incarceration. separation from siblings or friends. Like kids in foster care, environmental or climate losses. You can, let’s say your house burns down, you lose everything. You know, your pictures, your losses, that’s again your loss of safety or loss of, you know, where do you go from there? It’s a big change, right? You can also lose hope. And after so many years of grief, I think I got to the point where I kind of had lost some hope. And, you know, I just got sick and tired Of being tired of feeling the way I was feeling. And yeah, it’s you. There’s just grief is just so much more than just about death. And then we see it on the news. So you see, see it in the newspaper, you see it on TV, the lady in the grocery store, sharing her grief stories. You know, she’s not saying it like that, but she’s talking about you know, maybe she lost her job or you know, but people don’t use the word grief, right, grieving, they tell you the story. They don’t tell you how they feel. Even though they really want you to know how they feel. You’re always going to resort back to the story and so it’s, it’s being a heart with ears and really listening and having an awareness of yourself as well; where you talk about the feelings instead of just, you know, being stuck on the story.
One of the things too that you know, because grief begins in childhood and, and in our youth. You know, we’re born with perfect harmony, intuition, intellect, and emotion like it’s perfectly in harmony. And, you know, by the age of three, we have learned 75% of the basic tools and concepts that we will use throughout our life. And there was a pediatrician who was interviewed was about grief, I can’t remember exactly, I think in the UK maybe. And he was asked: “When does the brightness leave their eyes?” You know, talking about children, and he said: “In middle school.” You know, and that’s 95% of our decision-making powers are established by the age of 15. So by the time we reach Middle School, we have already learned and received the tools and concepts that we will use for decision making. And that’s true when it comes to grief. Like how we are taught, the messages we receive, and how we deal with grief. We learned at a time we were age 15. So this is why it’s so important that we start talking about grief, like a feeling. We start talking about grief like we talk about the weather, and that we stop shying away from others’ pain and sorrow, that we start having some awareness around our own in the behaviors that we resort to, to avoid what is ours, what our feelings are. Because grief unites us all. In grief is not a noun. It’s a feeling.
So that is today’s episode, I feel like I have definitely shared the definition of grief that is more than just about death. Next week, I will be sharing how and why grief keeps us stuck. So I hope you tune in for that. Until next time, take care.
From my heart to yours, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being a heart with yours. And, if you’re hurting, know that what you’re feeling is normal and natural. Much love, my friend.
The body always talks. Our bodies are our alarm system to something not being right. And, when experiencing grief, our bodies definitely talk to us. When we are feeling anxious or worried, our minds often swirl the same thought patterns over and over. In response, our bodies reply to those thought patterns. For every person, the symptoms will present differently, however, may be similar as well.
Common Physical Grief Symptoms
Since I started grief recovery work, there have been similarities in symptoms that clients have shared with me that were like my own. For example, when I had my “mid-life unraveling,” I was experiencing overall body aches, hair loss, weight loss, stomach/gut issues (often with bloat), fatigue, etc.. After going down numerous rabbit holes with my doctor, what came of all of that was that my body was “Epstein-Barr Reactive.” Meaning, the mono virus was reactivated in my body, however, blood work was showing that I did not have mono. Also, around those years, I ended up having three colon polyps removed.
Grief manifests in our bodies; no doubt about it. And, because most of us will not identify ourselves as grievers, we suffer from what we believe are “medical mysteries” with no explanation, and, begin to feel a little crazy in the process. Also, “traditional” doctors are not going to ask you about your emotional state, are they? They’re not going to ask you about your “loss history,” are they? So, the mind-body connection is rarely (if ever) made in a traditional doctor’s office, even though boat-loads of medical research point to how our minds and bodies are connected in amazing, brilliant ways.
The disconnect comes where our ego is. The disconnect comes from our inability to get out of our minds and into our hearts. And, there’s this assistance of resistance to that which is painful and traumatic. We simply don’t want to “re-live” or “re-hash” what we’ve experienced. I often hear this from those who are not ready to dig deep and work through the muck. And hey, that was me, too, for a very (very) long time. But, if you would be honest with yourself (as I wish I would have been years earlier), you would see that not “re-hashing” and sitting in the muck, is only keeping you stuck in various areas of your life, negatively impacting your health and relationships, and probably taking years off of your life.
That which we don’t acknowledge (or refuse to) festers like a sore that won’t heal. And, over time, we tend to pick at the scab. However, when we’ve picked just a bit too much and it starts to sting a bit; we retreat, pull back, and leave it well enough alone. Because picking away any more is just plain painful.
A Car Analogy
Over the past five years, I have learned a lot about how my body responds to stressors. I’ve learned what I need to feel recharged, not depleted, and balanced. It’s still something I am working towards because, kids, life, work, side -hustle all require mental, emotional, and physical energy. If we think of our bodies as a fuel tank, we start to think more about our bodies as the cars we drive. We take our cars in for oil changes, tune-up’s, balance the tires, keep the fluids filled, etc.. However, this same common sense care and maintenance goes out the window when we think about ourselves and self-care. We take better care of our autos than we do our one body that we don’t get a re-do with; we can’t trade our one body in for another newer, better-equipped model. Nope, one shot – one life.
So, just as we take great care in ensuring our automobile lasts for the long-haul, so too, we need to consider how we’re taking care of ourselves for the long-haul. What is your heart needing? What is your mind fighting your heart against today?
I recently heard a pretty probing question posed by the author Hal Elrod who wrote the book Miracle Morning on a podcast episode. He said: “Is my life a reflection of who I want to be or a reaction to those who I don’t want to upset?” I bring this question up because often it is our relationships with the living that often cause us the most grief. And, this grief manifests in our bodies. What we hold in, emotionally, will always come out in one of two ways; we either implode (health issues) or we explode (emotional outbursts/anger/relationship problems/etc.). If you answer that question and, you’re walking through life on eggshells; reacting to life and attempting to not upset anyone, what do you think that this doing to your heart? What do you think that is doing to you emotionally? It likely feels like an emotional rollercoaster, filled with highs, lows, and a lot of stressors in-between. And, we all know what stress does to us – mentally, emotionally, and physically, right?
Heart vs Mind
My body responds to stress with increased heart rate, negatively impacted sleep (even if I don’t realize it), dry mouth, burning sensation between my shoulder blades (where my tension goes), anxiousness, lack of concentration, an inability to focus, and gut symptoms. I know this now about myself. I didn’t understand this over five years ago. And, that is why I believe I was led to grief recovery and energy healing. My body knew exactly what I needed. My mind (ego), however, was the one holding me back, pulling the strings, and keeping me stuck.
Where are you feeling your emotions in your body? I encourage you to consider that grief may be the cause of your physical symptoms. Whether it be high blood pressure, an ulcer, body aches, fatigue, etc., consider that it may be grief. Reflect on the losses you’ve endured in your life that involve both the death of a loved one and the losses that don’t.
Have you lost trust in someone you deeply cared about?
Have you felt betrayed in your life?
Have you experienced financial ruin?
Lost your home in uncontrollable circumstances?
Suffered estrangement as a child (from a parent) or as an adult (in relationships)?
Has your life been a downward spiral of loss of health?
Are you a caregiver to someone who is terminally ill, cognitively declining, or is cognitively delayed?
Have you survived a physical attack or accident?
Have you had many accidents throughout your life, which often occur as a result of the cognitive consequences of grief (an inability to concentrate/focus)?
All of these situations (and many more) create grief in our lives that also manifest in our bodies. The body knows. And, our one body is always talking to us. I have become so attuned to this connection that I can often look at someone and, I know something is up. Both our body language, and our physical appearance tell a story without us having to say a word. We often wear our life stories like the clothes on our backs without us even realizing it. Kids are no different. The energy that surrounds us, and we take with us out into the world, tells the story.
Heal the story, and you begin to heal the body.
P.S. Do you have a child with a story that needs healing but you’re not sure how to help them? I am looking for 8 participants for an upcoming 4-week, online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We will meet on Zoom for one session per week for 4 weeks for approximately 2 1/2 hours, in the evening (day/time TBD and flexible). This is not a program for you, rather it is a program for you to learn tools and communication skills in how to help the child/children in your care work through and process loss. And, considering Covid-19 has touched every single one of us, there is no denying children need this, even if you think they’re doing just fine. Prior to Covid-19, has a loved one or a pet died? Maybe during Covid-19, a loved one died and they didn’t get to say goodbye? There is plenty of grief to go around these days and this program is prevention. I encourage you to consider it and get in touch with me via email to [email protected] The first group will be offered at a discount!